06 April 1998
(U.S. administration urges Senate to act soon) (220) By Judy Aita USIA United Nations Correspondent United Nations -- Britain and France have ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), becoming the first nuclear weapons states to do so. British Ambassador Sir John Weston and French Ambassador Alain Dejammet deposited the instruments of ratification at a joint ceremony at U.N. headquarters April 6. The treaty, which opened for signature September 24, 1996, has now been ratified by 13 countries. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Bill Richardson applauded the efforts of Great Britain and Franc,e saying "this is a milestone in a global effort to reduce the nuclear threat." "The United States has asked the U.S. Senate to give its advice and consent to the CTBT this year," Richardson said. "We urge the Senate to approve it soon." While it has been signed by 149 countries, experts do not see the treaty, which bans all nuclear weapons test explosions, coming into force in the foreseeable future. It requires ratification by 44 nuclear countries that are specifically named in the treaty. So far only six of those have ratified -- Austria, Japan, Peru, Slovakia, Britain, and France. Three countries -- India, Pakistan, and North Korea -- have not even signed the treaty.